The Appraisal Department is responsible for establishing the current market value on all real estate, both commercial and residential, in the county according to the Alabama Department of Revenue appraisal standards. It is our goal that these values be fair and equitable throughout DeKalb County.
DeKalb County has over 48,500 separate parcels of land that must be individually appraised for tax purposes. Each parcel of land must be described on a property record card. Characteristics about land and improvements are listed and valued separately and become the basis for establishing fair market value. This information is found in the Revenue Commissioner’s Office.
Market value is defined as the most probable price, expressed in terms of money, that a property would bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.
Once market values have been calculated based on information gathered by the property appraiser, the values are analyzed to determine how accurate and equitable they are. The property appraiser does not create market value. The buying and selling of property by the general public establishes the value of property in the real estate marketplace.
A comparison of assessments to sales prices is performed to determine ratios, which are then used to measure the levels and uniformity of assessments. Sales ratio studies by neighborhood, type of property and other characteristics are performed on a regular basis to assure uniformity in values.
The benefit to annual equalization is to improve equalization among similar and dissimilar properties. The annual equalization process also provides a stable as well as an enhanced revenue stream from property taxes for schools, municipal, county, and state government. An equally important result is the small market value increase annually instead of the large market value increase of the four-year cycle.
New values are set each year. Upon completion of setting the values, notice is given by legal advertisement in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks. Taxpayers have 30 days from the date of the second advertisement to file an appeal. New values are usually set in July.
If you believe your property value is too high, you may file a written protest with the DeKalb County Board of Equalization (BOE) 206 Grand Avenue SW, Fort Payne, AL 35967.
Upon your appeal, you will be contacted by a county appraiser to review your valuation. If, after this review you are still not satisfied with your valuation, a hearing will be set for you to formally meet with the BOE to present your information you believe justifies a change in value.
Following this hearing, you will be notified of the decision of the Board of Equalization. Appeals may be made to Circuit Court within 30 days from the adjournment of the BOE.
In order to preserve your right to carry the appeal to Circuit Court, taxes must be paid by December 31 or a bond filed in Circuit Court in double the amount of taxes due.